The Invention of the Mask Clip

NASH junior Jupnoor Dhingra employed 3D printing to help those who are more sensitive to mask-wearing.


Photo by Anthony Durzo

The mask clip allows the mask to wrap around the head instead of looping around the ears.

Anthony Durzo, News Editor

What started out as a problem within one family has now helped out many around North Allegheny Senior High School. 

With the continuation of the CDC’s guidance regarding mask-wearing, the Dhingra family faced a challenge.  NASH junior Jupnoor Dhingra’s father wears a turban, a piece of headwear that represents respect for the founders of faith in the religion of Sikhism.  

“The turban covered his ears, so he couldn’t loop the mask around his ears and we needed a solution for that,” Dhingra said. 

Refusing to go against his religious beliefs, Dhingra created a mask clip that allows both the turban and the mask to be worn at the same time. He used his background in programming and experience with a 3D printer to create a solution for his father. 

“I’ve had experience with programs like Fusion 360 and Autodesk Inventor, so I knew how to model it,” Dhingra added.

The mask clip is made mostly of polylactic acid, also known as PLA plastic, which the 3D printer used to print the rounded clip. Once Dhingra had all materials needed for his invention, he devised a plan — a plan that needed to be altered several times over the course of two months.

“There were around five iterations,” Dhingra explained. “It was either too weak or didn’t bend properly.”  

I don’t have any plans to sell them. It’s more for fun and for those who are in need of it,”

— Jupnoor Dhingra, NASH junior

Once the first successful mask clip was printed, Dhingra was proud to see that something he had created on his own had benefited another. He then made over a dozen more mask clips to give to those at his temple who had the same dilemma as his father.

Though his invention may be marketable, Dhingra says it was never about money. 

“I don’t have any plans to sell them,” Dhingra stated. “It’s more for fun and for those who are in need of it.” 

One of those who were in need was NASH GOAL facilitator Janellen Lombardi. Last school year, Lombardi worked at North Allegheny Cyber Academy (NACA).  After returning to in-person school this year, wearing a mask for eight hours per day presented trouble. 

“My ears were rubbed raw at the start of the school year,” Lombardi said. 

Lombardi’s problem, however, was soon to be resolved during a meeting with Dhingra’s parents in the fall. The subject of the mask clip invention was brought up during conversation, and Lombardi expressed interest. She asked, and she received. 

“They said I had made such an impassioned appeal at the meeting that they had to deliver one to me,” she said. “Their sense of humor made me laugh, but honestly, I was so grateful to receive it.” 

Lombardi s ears have since healed, thanks to resourcefulness and generosity of a single student. 

“Jupnoor’s invention makes it easier for me to get through the day,” she said.   “Anything we can do to bring ourselves comfort right now is a real blessing!”